Police put down demo in Istanbul marking anniversary of three Kurdish women’s killings
ISTANBUL – Doğan News Agency
Demonstrators protect themselves from tear gas sprayed by the Turkish riot police as they try to march to the French Consulate in Istanbul, Jan. 9. AFP photoA demonstration in Istanbul Jan. 9 marking the anniversary of the murder last year of three Kurdish women in Paris was put down by the police.
Around 500 people gathered at Galatasaray Square on the city’s crowded Istiklal Avenue to commemorate the three women brutally killed at a time when the Kurdish peace process was in an embryonic stage.
The presence of Sakine Cansız, one of the founding members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and Fidan Doğan, the Paris representative of the Brussels-based Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) had raised concern that the process might be disrupted before starting. Another Kurdish woman, Leyla Söylemez, was also killed.
The group, including the co-chair of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Sebahat Tuncel, opened posters of the slain Kurdish women and chanted slogans urging the murder to be brought to light.
The police refused a request from protesters to stage a march to the French Consulate, located on one end of Istiklal Avenue. Riot police then resorted to tear gas and water cannons as protesters refused to disperse following a press statement.
Tuncel criticized the tight police measures and subsequent intervention on the group. “Don’t put the barricades in front of the women or the resolution of the Kurdish issue. Put them in front of those who try to obstruct peace,” Tuncel said, adding the group’s sole intention was to lay a black wreath at the French Consulate.
“Instead of solving (the murder), they are intervening on those who protest against it. This approach(is proof of) how the Turkish Republic defends it (the murders),” Tuncel said.
The former Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) deputy is facing a jail sentence after the appeal on an eight year sentence for PKK membership was upheld.
The killings sent a shockwave through Europe’s Kurdish community and a massive funeral ceremony was held in Diyarbakır after the bodies were returned to Turkey.